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Jon Hassell - The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound

The "INTUITION Master Series" launches with a classic from the Jon Hassell vaults.
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The American trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Jon Hassell, who died in 2021, was an international legend despite never having managed a popular breakthrough, mainly due to the fact that he almost never gave himself to the public. Jon Hassell was a musical visionary and pioneer, one who was inspired by ambient sounds and new music. He appreciated the music of avant-gardists such as Stockhausen, in whose Cologne school he also studied. He came into contact with Terry Riley and his minimalistic music early on and played on his first albums. Hassell was also a musically driven person, someone who had to get to the bottom of styles. Thus, he was intensively involved with Far Eastern, but especially Indian music. Using the ingredients he learned, he created a completely new way of playing on and with the trumpet. He created language-like modulated air currents flowing through the instrument to produce seemingly alien, microtonal sounds.

He combined this technique with ethnic polyrhythms, electronic alienation, soundscapes and jazz to create his own style, which he called "Fourth World". "We have this huge difference between the technically advanced 'northern' countries (First World) and the underdeveloped 'southern' countries (Third World). And clearly the future is going to develop as a hybrid, a mixture of the two. 'Fourth World Music' means combining the best of the old with the best of the new. But don't forget the old. Don't overlook the value of tradition." With this kind of music, he significantly influenced numerous emerging styles such as world music, nujazz or ambient. It is no mistake to say that without Hassell's ideas, these types of music would have taken a very different course. The list of influenced musicians and producers is long, starting with Brian Eno, who further developed his ambient concept as well as the multi-rhythmic approach after working with him. Eno passed the latter on to David Byrne (Talking Heads).

Hassell's influence on the music world cannot be overestimated, even if he himself was always unimpressed by the praise. "It's the invisible things that buzz around us. You just have to bring them to light and make them visible." INTUITION's 1987 "The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound" is undoubtedly one of his best works and we are proud to have it included in the catalogue. In a tried and tested association with Brian Eno (as producer), his first completely live-recorded album was released at that time. The individual pieces, which were recorded in Paris, Vancouver, Hamburg and Brussels, reflect the special atmosphere that made every (rare) Jon Hassell concert something extraordinary. The extremely delicate preparation and post-processing of the live material in the studio mix also makes it clear to the listener what subtle means Jon Hassell used to captivate his audience. This album is an absolute work of sound-art, or as one listener once put it: "An album with almost tender percussion and floating, artfully sprinkled synthesizer sounds and accompanied by an electronically alienated trumpet that is mysteriously bizarre and at the same time unspeakably gentle and soft - somehow beyond space and time."

Released 26th January 2024

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Jon Hassell - The Surgeon of the Nightsky Restores Dead Things by the Power of Sound

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